Jul 18, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau (left), new player Nikola Mirotic (middle) and general manager Gar Forman pose for a photo after a press conference at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls back in the mix for Kevin Love, offering Mirotic?

Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst, both of ESPN, are reporting that the Chicago Bulls are back in the mix for Kevin Love.

This news comes on the same day that the Associated Press reported that Andrew Wiggins is on the verge of signing his rookie contract with the Cavs, thereby delaying any trade being made official for thirty days.

It’s tough to understand why Chicago would suddenly be a serious contender to acquire Love’s services, since they spent the past few weeks adding Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott, and Paul Gasol to a roster that already includes Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah. Of course, at least two of those five players would head to Minnesota in any potential trade, but it’s certainly a muddy situation.

Mirotic cannot be officially traded until late August, as he just recently signed his rookie deal with the Bulls. He would be the centerpiece of any trade between the Wolves and Bulls, with Gibson as the piece that eventually could outweigh an Andrew Wiggins-centric offer.

I’ve been saying for nearly six weeks that the Bulls are the best-case scenario trade partner for Flip Saunders and the Timberwolves. In my ideal offer laid out at the link, here’s what I had put together:

Minnesota receives: Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy, rights to Nikola Mirotic, #16 pick, future first round pick

Chicago receives: Kevin Love

Take out the #16 pick and I’d still make that trade. Probably before a Wiggins deal, to be honest. Mirotic is a special player. (Keep in mind that Flip is apparently enamored with Doug McDermott, and he could easily be the sticking point from the Wolves’ perspective.)

As long as the offer centers on Mirotic + Gibson, the ancillary pieces are somewhat interchangable. Dunleavy likely is added to match salaries (and he’d be a great fit for the Wolves, but it’s a bonus to the central pieces of the trade), and the Wolves also get Butler or McDermott.

This is a better offer than Wiggins + Waiters + Miami first round pick. It’s close, but I’d bet on the sure thing that is Gibson, and the near-sure thing that is Mirotic. Throw in the potential of Butler, and I’m sold.

Here’s hoping that Saunders is, too.

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Tags: Kevin Love Kevin Love Trade Minnesota Timberwolves NBA News Nikola Mirotic

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